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4.17.2012

FOR LEASE, PLEASE!

Drive in any town, just about anywhere in the United States, and you will find vacant strip mall commercial space.  You will find business office buildings with big FOR LEASE signs.  Much of this space is nice.  It's newer.  And, it is sitting empty.  Walgreens is a culprit of this.  They build a store, after doing demographic research, and occupy it for a few years.  Then they build a new one just down the road (sometimes just blocks away), move out of the old building and leave it empty.  K-Mart has closed down in many towns leaving huge retail buildings sitting empty.  Those vacated properties contribute to the junkiness and decline of any town.  Conversely and amazingly enough though, you will also see new construction of commercial space being built without it being leased out yet.  Brand new space with FOR LEASE signs.  That investor must either be a Vegas gambler or have money to burn!  Maybe it comes from the way I grew up.  Maybe it is the former Realtor in me.  Maybe it comes from the fact that I find great satisfaction in making something from nothing; meals, decorating, clothes and home improvement projects.  Why can we not utilize and maximize vacant existing space?  Why do cities not enact codes to limit new commerical construction numbers based on the number of vacant and available spaces that already exist?  We are a throw away society for sure.  I do not believe that the economy is booming.  If it were, commerical space would not be sitting empty in the volume that it is.  Instead of altering or re-inventing the space that is already there, it is abandoned and new is built.  That would be fine if the old were torn down.  That would be a great building code enforcement rule; if you abandon commerical space (free standing from other stores, etc.) and it is not sold or leased within a certain time frame it must be given to the city or torn down.  I'm sure no one would vote me in for Mayor.   There is a neighborhood close to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana that created a neighborhood association.  They have rehabbed blocks and blocks of older houses, bringing them a much needed update and modern look.  You see the original style of an older 2-story home but the touch of modernism, sharpness and the power of an alliance to revitalize a whole section of a neighborhood.  Denigrating residential and commercial properties only serve to pull down the beauty of a city.  They promote lack of pride, give haven to crime and create further reason for homeowners and business owners to buy elsewhere.  I am tired of seeing run down properties that sit vacant but still have use and life in them.  Products in general are now cheaper to buy new than repair - washers, hair dryers, toasters, etc...  We have that same mind set with properties.  We need new life breathed into how we view caring for the earth and properties which inhabit it!

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